Johnson County Fire Protection District Training and Safety Division Captain Joe Jennings was presented with the Justin W. Stephan Public Service Award from the Executive Committee of the American Legion Missouri Boys State, Inc. on Saturday, June 18, 2022 in St. Charles. Jennings was recognized for his tireless service to the state and community as well as to the Boys State program. His efforts exemplify the spirit of Justin Stephan and his love for public service.
The award, named after the late Justin W. Stephan of Appleton City, is awarded to a Boys State staff member who recognizes the ideals of Boys State by stepping into the arena and answering the call for service in their community. Stephan attended Missouri Boys State in 2000 before serving on the staff of the program for 13 years. He was instrumental in transforming the program’s Legislative School into one of the finest of its kind in the nation and was the founder of the Sons of American Legion Post 999. He was proud of his hometown and serving his fellow citizens. He was elected mayor of Appleton City in 2012 at the age of 29 and passed away unexpectedly in 2013.
Captain Jennings attended Missouri Boys State in 2007 from Warrensburg High School. He returned to the program as a staff member in 2008 and completed his fifteenth year on staff in 2022. Jennings was privileged to be under the tutelage of Stephan for many years as a counselor in the Legislative School. Jennings has served in various roles during his time on the Boys State staff and he presently serves the program as an instructor in the Law Enforcement and Public Safety School. Like Stephan, he was a charter member of Sons of American Legion Post 999.
Captain Jennings joined the Johnson County Fire Protection District in 2004 and has served in the District’s Training and Safety Division since 2011. He oversees and instructs the District’s Recruit Firefighter Training Program and the District’s adjunct instructors while also serving as the District’s Public Information Officer. During his tenure, he has instructed hundreds of firefighting personnel including students from local agencies and students from as far as Saudi Arabia.
In addition to his duties with the District, Jennings is a member of the Professional Fire and Fraud Investigators Association, National Information Officer Association, Johnson County Fire Investigation Unit (serving as the Unit’s Secretary), Fire Fighters Association of Missouri (having served on three committees), Missouri Fire Service Funeral Assistance Team, and previously served on the Johnson County Emergency Services Board where he was elected in 2016 and served an extended term until June 2020.
Jennings has a Masters Degree in College Student Personnel Administration from the University of Central Missouri and a Bachelors Degree in Public Administration from Missouri State University. He holds Missouri certifications of Firefighter I and II, Fire Investigator, Fire Service Instructor I, Hazardous Materials Awareness and Operations and numerous additional certifications.
“Captain Jennings receiving this award from Missouri Boys State in recognition for his service to the community further exemplifies the dedication members of the Fire District have, not only to our local community, but to various programs and organizations throughout the state,” said Fire Chief Larry Jennings.
Additionally, he has a full-time career in law enforcement where he serves as a police sergeant for a local law enforcement agency.
More information about the Johnson County Fire Protection District can be found online at jcfpd.net or on Facebook at facebook.com/johnsoncountyfpd. Information on Missouri Boys State can be located at moboysstate.org.